Beliefnet
Movie Mom
New to Theaters
B

Lowest Recommended Age: High School MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief drug content Release Date: May 6, 2016
B+

Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem Release Date: May 6, 2016
B+

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief drug content Release Date: April 29, 2016
New to DVD
Pick of the week
B

The Choice

Lowest Recommended Age: High School MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief drug content Release Date: May 6, 2016
B

A Royal Night Out

Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem Release Date: May 6, 2016
B

Joy

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for brief drug content Release Date: April 29, 2016
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Thanks so much to all who entered! The winners of the Tinker Bell DVD and wings set are:
Marisa, Billie, Hazel, Sarah G, and Jannell.
More contests coming soon, so keep watching!

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I watched the very first episode of Sesame Street when I was a teenager. My dad, Newton Minow, helped get the funding for the show in the late 1960’s and I remember how excited he was about transforming what children could learn from television. They would create catchy jingles and short, entertaining segments to help teach numbers, the alphabet, and more. I happened to be home from school with a bad cold the day it premiered, and I fell in love with it immediately, its fresh, insouciant, wildly imaginative, even more wildly funny, and utterly endearing sensibility. I still remember Wanda the Witch, who lived somewhere West of Washington and Wore a Wig. I loved watching it with my children. It was so much fun it was to see Smokey Robinson singing “U’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” with the letter U tugging on his leg and the day when everyone learned that Mr. Snuffleupagus was really real. I loved its gentle lessons about kindness and feelings. I especially remember one segment with violinist Itshak Perlman describing easy and hard with such simplicity and sweetness.

Forty years later, I still sneak a peek now and then. It’s just…ducky.

Sesame Street has a delightful 40th anniversary video featuring guest stars from Michelle Obama to Adam Sandler, Jason Mraz, Paul Rudd, Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Ricky Gervais. I’d love to hear your favorite Sesame Street memories.

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Can you review a movie in 140 characters? TwitCritics thinks you can. This site assembles tweets about current releases and distills them into a rating. You can follow them by RSS feed, on Facebook, or, of course, on Twitter. The reviews so far seem to skew more positive than other aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes, probably because tweeters are more motivated to post when they are feeling enthusiastic. Civilian reviews in general tend to be more positive because people only buy tickets to movies they want to see so there is a selection bias. It is fun to see how the fans react, just another way Twitter is becoming the go-to real-time temperature-taker for the hive mind.
Thanks to my beloved nephew Dante for this suggestion!

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Back in the era of Saturday matinées, “Aliens in the Attic” would have been just fine sandwiched between a couple of cartoons and a newsreel, especially if about half an hour was lopped off and there was a bit more imagination or wit in the title invaders. It’s probably better suited for DVD and a pizza at slumber parties than for an $8 movie theater ticket. But as long as no one expects too much, this is not a bad time-waster.

The Pearson family: mom, dad (SNL and “Weeds” vet Kevin Nealon), love-struck teen queen Bethany (“HSMs” Ashley Tisdale), sulky middle child Tom (Carter Jenkins), cute sock-monkey-clutching kid Hannah (Ashley Boettcher) are joined in their vacation home by their grandmother (Doris Roberts of “Everybody Loves Raymond”), uncle (Andy Richter), and cousins, aggressive Jake (Austin Robert Butler of “Zooey 101″) and gamer twins (Henri and Regan Young). Tom is not happy with himself, with being away from his computer, with having to go fishing, with any of his family, and especially with the uninvited arrival of Bethany’s boyfriend Ricky (Robert Hoffman), who seems able to fool everyone but Tom with his good manners and preppy appearance. And then there are the aliens in the attic, four little green creatures with many arms who have come in search of something they need to take over the planet. One of their most potent weapons is a mind-enslaving dart that turns humans into remote-controlled zombie slaves.

But it only works on adults.

And so the kids have to learn how to work together to protect the grown-ups and the planet. What works best in the film are the special effects, clearly the primary focus as the talented cast, including Tisdale and SNL vet Tim Meadows, get less attention than the CGI and wire work. The gamer expert twins use the Wii-style remote to manipulate the zombified Ricky and grandma, the kids have to assemble weapons with whatever they have on hand, and the aliens turn off the gravity and get tangled in a Slinky. A lot of slapstick and a little crude humor went a long way with the kids in the audience and there were frequent hoots of delighted laughter. I could hear some of the punchlines repeated and stored for later use. (That last point is as much a warning as an endorsement.)

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